Date: 11th June 2015 at 11:11am
Written by:

Politics in Formula One has become part of the fabric of the sport.

In a sport where the participants write the rules, politics will always play a major part in what happens in Formula One.

At the moment in Formula One the sport appears to be on the brink.

The new engine formula era, one which has successfully brought the sport to the forefront of technology for its manufacturers has also brought problems.

The new engines are expensive to develop, so the teams agreed new engine regulations from the start of the new v6 turbo hybrid era in 2014, limiting development and upgrades.

However that has left Formula One in a position where Mercedes and Ferrari dominate the front of the grid and Renault and Honda customers are struggling and are unable to invest to catch up.

Engine development following the 2014 season was supposed to be outlawed in a bid to lower costs, however Ferrari found a loophole in the regulations and a token system was introduced this year to allow some development during the season.

The FIA has since rewritten the 2016 regulations to close the loophole, which means that engine manufacturers Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda and Renault must submit all their performance improvements by 28th February 2016.

No alterations will be permitted unless there was unanimous agreement from all of the teams to change the rules.

As ever, self preservation in Formula One takes over, why would Mercedes and Ferrari hand over a competitive advantage to a rival such as Renault or Honda just because they were unable to best develop their engine under the rules which they previous agreed to compete too?

In any other sport if you hold the advantage you wouldn’t concede anything.

But in present day Formula One, if no compromise can be found then the whole sport could suffer.

The criticism levelled at Renault from customer team Red Bull Racing both last year and especially this, has left the French engine manufacturer contemplating their future in Formula One beyond their current contract which expires at the end of 2016.

If they were to withdraw from Formula One, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso would both be without an engine supplier.

McLaren have also entered a new project with Japanese manufacturer Honda and they have so far struggled in 2015. If they cannot develop their engine then the whole sport becomes less and less competitive and interest from the public and sponsors dwindles.

So the teams are calling for a regulation change, but Mercedes are the team who hold the best hand.

Will they, as many others before them, work to their own best interests in F1 or work towards the best interests of F1?

‘They are willing to listen, to be honest. They are already, and having talked to Toto [Wolff] and Niki [Lauda] they are concerned about Formula 1 itself.

‘I’m sure there is some room for change.

‘You just need to look at the whole picture.’
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier told Autosport Magazine.

He continued: ‘Looking at the situation, with the chassis you can develop that when you want; engine, you are locked into a situation and now engine manufacturers cannot recover or compete fairly, let’s say.

‘Of course, the regulation is the same for everybody, and everybody knew the regulation beforehand, but there needs to be a degree of flexibility for that. It needs to be changed.

‘We cornered ourselves in Formula 1 with this regulation, but now we need to be clever to rethink how to change it.’



 

Your Comment